[INTERVIEW] Featured Interview: Bruce “Automatic” Vanderveer & vocal stylist Ebony Rae [EXCLUSIVE]
I recently had the amazing opportunity to interview the songwriter/producer of Junsu’s latest single, “Uncommitted” – Bruce “Automatic” Vanderveer – and his partner, vocal stylist Ebony Rae. In this, we learn about who “Automatic” is, the celebrities he’s worked with, what it was like working with Junsu, and more!
image: Cheryl Little
Read further for their “behind the scenes” impressions of our beloved Kim Junsu and the industry we know as “kpop”.
Bruce “Automatic” Vanderveer is the songwriter and producer of Junsu’s latest single, “Uncommitted”, and featured in the song as the person speaking in the beginning of the track. Many fans also know him to be very generous and kind, as he replies to many of us via his Twitter and Facebook already. However, he was kind enough to give this full interview answering many questions I had about his history in the industry, his partner, and what it was like working with Junsu. His partner and fiance Ebony Rae, who was the vocal stylist for the project, also speaks to us about Junsu’s English and working with him on his pronunciation.
Without further introduction, let’s move on to the interview!
Firstly, who is “Bruce ‘Automatic’ Vanderveer”? Tell us a bit about yourself, what you do, and your company.
“Born and raised in Brooklyn New York.I am a producer, multi instrumentalist, songwriter, artist, family man and entrepreneur. I’ve been signed to Sony since ’99 and have had the opportunity to work with a number of great major artists as well independent artists. “
What inspired you to take on production and songwriting as a career and what progression has it had through the years? Can you tell us more about your history in the industry and the process that led up to where you are now?
“When I was 11, I picked up the guitar and started playing like I knew what I was doing even though I had never touched the instrument before. I did the same with every instrument I picked up. That’s where I got the name “Automatic”. I wanted to get my hands on every instrument I could and I was able to play lots of different instruments in high school band. I started my own group with some of my high school friends. Eventually, I got my own apartment and turned it into a studio and rehearsal space. We got the attention from some labels and got a deal and moved to California. Michael Jackson was the one who really inspired me to produce. He gave me the opportunity to work with Brownstone, the 90’s female R&B group. From there, I really took production seriously and have been trying to perfect my craft ever since. “
Some of your previous work has been with some pretty impressive names in the industry. Can you tell us what artists you’ve worked with so far?
“I’ve worked with Pink, Christina Aguilera, James Brown, Cher, Raven Simone and, of course, Junsu. “
It’s my understanding that representatives from CJeS contacted you directly for this project. Can you confirm this? Also, how did that happen and what were your first thoughts about the idea of working with them and Junsu?
“Yes, Niddy, who works directly with the label and the artists on the label, asked me to submit some songs. I am always excited about the opportunity to work with great artists. This was my first opportunity producing an artist outside of America, so that was really appealing for me. When I did my research and got to know more about Junsu and JYJ, I knew that this was something special.”
Had either you or your team heard of Junsu and/or “Kpop” before this project?
“My daughter and her friend listen to Kpop. She had shared some music and music videos with me. I was very impressed with the level of artistry and quality of music and performance. I didn’t know the impact that it was having globally until recently.”
What message did you intend “Uncommitted” to give?
“Well, the story is about a man who, in his past, has been a player—someone who was not interested in settling down with one woman. However, he has now finally decided to settle down with the woman he is with and commit to her. But, because she knows too much about his past, she doesn’t believe that he can really be faithful to her.”
What was the inspiration behind the creation of “Uncommitted”?
“I wrote this about a friend I knew who had finally found the woman of his dreams and wanted to settle down. She knew his reputation and said that he was not the right kind of guy for her to settle down with. “
I think everyone in the fandom is wondering what it was like for you working with Junsu. Can you describe the experience to us?
“It was a great experience. We connected right away. He’s a really cool guy and we had fun in the studio. Junsu has a great work ethic. He wouldn’t stop until he got it right. He was open to taking chances. Everyone from Junsu’s label who was there was so gracious and welcoming. It was one of the best times I’ve had producing an artist.”
Your partner, Ebony Rae, was the vocal stylist on the track, and I understand she also helped Junsu with his English. Can you briefly explain that position and process for the fans?
“A vocal stylist can have many roles from coaching an artist on what notes to sing to how to sing those notes, how to pronounce vowels, how to phrase lines. S/he can also serve as a vocal coach helping the singer breath properly and take care of their voice. In this particular case, Ebony Rae focused on helping Junsu with the pronunciation of the lyrics.”
What did Ebony think of his vocal abilities and English skills?
“She thinks he has an incredible gift—so much style and a unique vibrato. He was nervous about singing a whole song in English, but he gracefully accepted the challenge. He was willing to repeat the lyrics until he got it right. He is a really hard worker.”
One side of an artist that fans don’t necessarily get to see often is who they are and how they work outside of the spotlight. However, this is really the core and starting point of creation for everything we love. From your perspectives having worked alongside him as equals, what were your first impressions of Junsu as an artist and as a person? What was the overall impression he left you both with after working with him?
“Junsu was really down-to-earth, has a great sense of humour, fun and has a lot of creative energy. He’s a star and he exhibits that on and off stage.”
Comparing your knowledge of kpop before to your journey through this experience and knowledge afterwards, would you say that this experience has affected both of your overall impressions of the Korean music industry? Is it something either or both of you plan to look further into as a whole?
“We’ve really dug into the Kpop world. Even though Kpop has been inspired by a western aesthetic, we think that there are still lots of things that we can learn from the Kpop culture—the music, the singing, the production, the fashion, the cinematography, there is something very unique about the approach.”
Would you like to work with Junsu, JYJ, and/or other Korean artists in the future?
“We’d love to work with Junsu again and other Kpop artists in the near future.”
Before we wrap up, let’s touch on your current projects. What are you working on now and what are your future plans?
“We write and produce music everyday. First there’s our label InRage Entertainment, Our writing and production company, (Curbside Vision) which includes two great creative minds. Raymond “Ray Ray” Patterson serves as a songwriter and consultant, and Dr. Miluna Faush who is a certified vocal coach. She is what we call our “Idea Generator”. There are a number of great artists that we are working with that have lots of potential. You’ll hear more about them soon. In addition to that, we are building a company called Artist Xplode geared towards helping independent artists brand and market themselves. I am the lead vocalist in my rock/hip hop band, Asphalt Messiah. Our first single will be out soon. Ebony is also working on her solo project. “
Lastly, what is your message to the fans reading this?
“Keep supporting Junsu, JYJ, and C-Jes! Keep supporting Kpop! Keep buying good music. It means so much to the artists, writers, and producers. You give us motivation to write good music. Thanks for supporting us. InRagers fighting! Did we use that right? lol”
( – end of interview)
In conclusion, I’d like to say that my personal impression of these wonderful people is that I think Junsu must have truly enjoyed working with them, as well. He’s said as much in an interview before, but they seem to be truly kind and amazing people in just the short time I spoke to them for this interview. I’d imagine they were just as great to work with for Junsu as he was for them, and it makes me proud as a part of this fandom that Junsu is able to work with people we can respect and be thankful for. I would personally like to thank Bruce and Ebony for being so generous with their time and for not only working on this project with Junsu, but for promoting him so strongly as well. As a fan, I can truly see and feel their support for Junsu and his latest single.
Note: To date, Junsu’s “Uncommitted” music video has surpassed 1 million views on JYJ’s Official Channel on Youtube and continues to climb.
Bruce “Automatic” Vanderveer can be found on –
COMING SOON –
Author’s Note: I’d also like to give congratulations on their engagement and say that I hope they live happy and healthy lives with as much support and love as they’ve given to us in return. ^.^ Thank you both so much for your time and efforts – it is truly and wholeheartedly appreciated!❤
Sources: Bruce “Automatic” Vanderveer, Ebony Rae
Photo Credits: Bruce “Automatic” Vanderveer, Google Search, Junsu’s Twitter
shared by: iXiahCassie